Once again, seeing the state of the happenings around me, I am overwhelmed, I am sad, I am heartbroken. Once again, writing brings me a peaceful place to process what has happened to our community. Once again, I am simply and completely in awe.
Two years ago, our country was in the midst of a horrific drought. Our communities and nation rallied and fought for our farmers, raised money, went on trips to struggling towns and ‘bought from the bush’. We thought we were simply awaiting the rain. We looked forward to better days ahead and committed to putting in the hard work to get to that point. Our farmers pushed themselves to limits we didn’t know existed and were internationally recognised for their stamina and grit. Rightly so.
The 2019/20 fire season came, testing every part of us, stretching and devastating us, forcing us past what we thought we could cope with. The true character of our community was revealed to be as we’ve always known – brimming with kindness, and goodness, and compassion. We saw the lengths that every-day people went to, to ensure that their fellow man was safe, taken care of, and felt seen. While we couldn’t always stop the fires, the focus was immediately turned to what we could do – we could create security for people, we could hustle support, donations and love in their direction – and we could lift up those among us who were willing to walk towards the danger for us.
When we dared to breath a sigh of relief, a new threat emerged – the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike natural disasters, this virus presented us with an enemy we weren’t equipped to face head on – a quiet retreat was the only option.
So, we stayed home. And we supported each other in different ways, in quieter ways. Our community spirit was as strong as ever, it just showed up differently. It showed up in ‘driveway drinks’, in long phone conversations, in groceries at the front door, in socially distanced walks. It showed up in our incredible front-line workers, from nurses to retail workers, and everyone in between. The act of not seeing each other in ordinary ways was the biggest sacrifice and act of love of all – it served to protect those around us without personal gain, or even personal risk.
And now floods. And those same every day heroes have once again stepped up, laid their respective skills, labour, time and equipment on the table with no reservations. The sacrificial nature of so many has been inspiring. Local online and offline networks have supported the connection of the needy and the willing, have allowed us to give whatever we have – from words of encouragement, to groceries, to furniture and white goods, to clothes and toiletries, and to thousands of dollars.
Reflecting on the last two years brings a single word to mind. Resilience.
Our community is resilient. They are brave. They are compassionate and kind. The people we get to do life with have not only shown an inherent goodness, but also an expectation-defying stamina. The chaos and circumstance of these times has taught me a lot about myself, and about the world. But most importantly it has taught me about my community, and who I want to be as part of it. It’s taught me about the beauty of resilience, the strength of the human spirit, and that you don’t have to look very far to find good, good people – they’re everywhere, and more importantly, they’re here.